Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Global Hot Spots of Hunger Set to Explode

by Thalif Deen
Inter Press Service
April 14, 2008

As food prices continue to escalate worldwide, some of the poorest nations in the developing world are in danger of social and political upheavals.

The unrest, which is likely to spread to nearly 40 countries, has been triggered largely by a sharp increase in the prices of staple commodities, including wheat, rice, sorghum, maize and soybeans, according to the United Nations.

Following last week's food riots in Haiti, which claimed the lives of four people, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed to international donors for urgent assistance to one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean.

A meeting of the world's finance ministers in Washington over the weekend warned that rising food prices were more of a threat to political and social stability than the current crisis in global capital markets.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has singled out six countries with an "exceptional shortfall in aggregate food production and supplies": Lesotho, Somalia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Iraq and Moldova.

An additional six countries with "widespread lack of access" to food include Eritrea, Liberia, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and North Korea.

The steep rise in basic foodstuffs has already sparked demonstrations and/or riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso, while an increase in both fuel and food prices has triggered unrest in Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.

Read more here.

Copyright © 2008 IPS-Inter Press Service

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